Predictions for all FBS games in week 9

10/25/2021   4:18pm

There are only two games this week that match top 25 teams against each other and both games occur in the Big Ten.

Two undefeated teams from Michigan get together in East Lansing as the #9 Michigan Wolverines (7-0) thump #7 Michigan State 28-24. Both have strong ground games and impressive defenses but only the Wolverines have Cade McNamara who has thrown just one interception in seven games.

Fifth ranked Ohio State (6-1) will keep pace with Michigan in the Big Ten East Division after a convincing win over #16 Penn State (5-2). The Buckeyes have an unstoppable rush attack led by freshman back TreVeyon Henderson who is sixth in FBS for rushing touchdowns and a passing attack led by freshman quarterback C.J. Stroud who is second in FBS for throwing the most touchdown passes.

OSU is the only team in our index to post 15 positive trends this month and the Buckeyes are now atop our Index as the team most likely to make it to the national championship game.

With an undefeated record, Georgia (7-0) remains #1 in our season rankings but if history holds, we can expect the Bulldogs to take a nosedive. It appears to me that could very well happen this week against Florida (4-3).

Here are some reasons why:

* Georgia’s trend lines in our system have stagnated. High-powered teams that stagnate are vulnerable, especially teams like UGA that have a history of choking.

* Georgia’s injury list still shows quarterback J.T. Daniels, two running backs, and three receivers.

* This is a neutral-site game and Georgia has been less than impressive in neutral-site games.

* Florida beat Georgia 44-28 on a neutral site last year.

I don’t see experts predicting a Georgia loss, but I do see enough elements to consider it a good possibility.

Second ranked Oklahoma (8-0) has been anything but consistent in 2021 so its game with surging Texas Tech (5-3) is one to keep an eye on. Tech has been alternating wins with losses in the Big 12 and this is “win” week.

The biggest obstacle for the Red Raiders is that they haven’t held Oklahoma under 50 points since 2017 and this year’s defense isn’t much better than any of the others.

Trend lines for #3 Cincinnati (7-0) have been dropping all month and the Bearcats no longer display the metrics of a playoff team. That won’t be evident this week against Tulane (1-6) but we can expect to see UC in an upset loss before Thanksgiving.

Fourth ranked Alabama (7-1) is idle this week.

Last week was a good week for our Savvy Index. It was slightly better than Vegas in predicting game winners while also finishing four games better in predicting point spreads, and ten games better in predicting total game points.

Our best predictions were:

Oregon over UCLA (reversal of oddsmakers) 30-28. Oregon won 34-31

Kent St. over Ohio 32-25. Final was 34-27

San Jose State over UNLV 28-21. Final was 27-20

Worst prediction was Western Michigan over Toledo by four. Toledo won by 19.

In the PAC-12 . . .

While the University of Oregon is finalizing plans for the construction of a glitzy, multi-million dollar indoor practice facility for football, it needs to keep an eye on Mario Cristobal.

Coach C. has lifted the Oregon program into the top ten in both team rankings as well as recruiting.  He is among UO’s top income producers yet he is being payed less than other coaches with PAC-12 pedigrees. For example, David Shaw, Mike Leach, Chip Kelly, and Lane Kiffin, all earn more than Cristobal. So does former Colorado coach Mel Tucker whose lifetime college coaching record amounts to just 14 wins to go with 12 losses. In fact, Coach C’s total pay isn’t even among the top 25 of the FBS.

Cristobal’s name is being associated with programs all across America and if the Ducks expect to keep him, they need to make a publicity splash about increasing his income that is as resounding as the one for the glitzy new multi-million dollar practice facility.

That won’t matter on the field this week as the Ducks (6-1) should have no trouble overpowering Colorado (2-5). Oregon is banged up, especially on defense, but the Buffalo offense won’t be able to capitalize behind a line that ranks 106th.

Oregon won the last bout (2019) between these two by a margin of 42 points. Betting lines favor Oregon by 25+. Despite those big margins, our Index shows a modest 33-17 prediction largely based on Colorado showing some performance trends this month that are above expectations.

Arizona State (5-2) will continue to lead the PAC-12 South after a 29-21 win over Washington State (4-4) in a match up of embattled coaching staffs. It will be a nice win for the PAC-12 South, but then, any win would be nice after all six teams are coming off of losses.

I don’t expect a high quality game on the field since Washington State is among the nation’s leaders in throwing interceptions and Arizona State is amont the nation’s leaders for most penalties.

Stanford’s David Shaw will try to prove once again that he should be the third-highest payed coach in college football when the Cardinal (3-4) host the stale Washington Muskies (3-4). The Cardinal have lost three of their last four while Washington had to come from behind last week to take down an Arizona team that hasn’t won a game in two years.

Neither of these outfits has a logical shot at the PAC-12 North title but the loser has a fabulous opportunity to lock up fifth place.

If both programs continue to decline, I would expect Washington to give head coach Jimmy Lake another year if he promies to replace offensive coordinator John Donovan.

Stanford’s decisions appear to be more profound given Shaw’s high salary and diminishing results.

Oregon State (5-2) will return to the Savvy Index top 25 for the first time in nearly a decade after a tight win at California (2-5). Both teams have top 30 rush defenses but the difference is that the Beavers gnaw rush defenses into splinters while the Bears only nibble.

OSU’s greatest advantage is junior running back B.J. Baylor who ranks in the top ten for most rushing yards despite having the fewest number of carries among the other nine.

Arizona (0-7) has yet to reach 20 points in a game and won’t get there this week either as the Wildcats travel to Los Angeles for a 36-14 loss to USC (3-2).

The Wildcats just don’t have enough of anything to compete with the Troy boys. Injuries have taken down U of A’s top two quarterbacks and that leaves just Will Plummer as the only scholarship guy behind center. Will has done a nice job of keeping Arizona atop the nation’s most interception-prone teams in America. Whereas his predecessors threw two interceptions for every touchdown, Will has thrown five interceptions for every two touchdowns.

With this win over Arizona, USC has a good shot at winning all five of its remaining games and, as undeserving at it might seem, the PAC-12 South Division as well.

Utah (4-3) is a 32-27 favorite to put an end to UCLA’s (5-3) hopes of winning the South. Unfortunately for the Utes, the schedule forward is too tough to think UU will win the South either.

UCLA will struggle with Utah’s 11th-ranked pressure defense and especially with elite linebacker Devin Lloyd. The Bruins also might have a problem at quarterback since Dorian Thompson-Robinson has not yet been cleared to return from a shoulder injury.

Utah has won the last three meetings between these two by scores of 49-3, 41-10, and 48-17. It will be closer this year but the winner will be unchanged.

   If you’re looking for more PAC-12 or northwest sports, please visit our friends at Oregon Sports News.

  Savvy Index   2021    
  predictions week 9    
  last week:      35-16     70%                 against the betting lines:  + 4 games against the spread   + 10 games in total points
Oct 30    
top 25 Season:      402-128 76% wins losses game rating notes
  Washington St. 4 4 21 Only Utah has scored more than 27
  Arizona St. 5 2 29 points on ASU this season.
  Oregon St. 5 2 28 OSU’s Avery Roberts is 3rd in the
  California 2 5 24 nation in tackles. Nolan is nation’s 20th most effic passer.
  Colorado 2 5 17 Oregon is 4th in the nation
10 Oregon 6 1 33 for intercepting passes.
  Washington 3 4 23 Two spiraling teams. Stanford won this
  Stanford 3 4 26 game by five last year.
  Arizona 0 7 14 Arizona is on the right path but won’t win this one.
  USC 3 4 36 USC’s Drake London already has over 1000 rec yards.
  UCLA 5 3 27 Cameron Rising of Utah is a leader in pass
  Utah 4 3 32 accuracy and also has 237 yards rushing.
  LA Monroe 4 3 19 App State running backs are
  App State 5 2 37 pretty beat up right now.
21 Mississippi 6 1 30 Surprising upset prediction.
  Auburn 5 2 32  
  Texas 4 3 32 Upset prediction. How unexpected is this that Baylor
17 Baylor 6 1 31 is ranked and Texas isn’t?
  Bowling Green 2 6 18 Bowling Green’s Nate Needham leads
  Buffalo 4 4 36 the nation in FG percentage.
  Virginia 6 2 27 BYU facing its former coach
23 BYU 6 2 28 Bronc Mendenhall.
  Florida St. 3 4 20 I disagree with this prediction.
  Clemson 4 3 27 FSU is red hot right now.
  Troy 4 3 18 Troy with two of the top five sack
13 Coastal Car 6 1 36 pressure defenders in FBS.
  Boise St. 3 4 27 I sense this will be CSU
  Colorado St. 3 4 21 in impressive fashion.
  USF 2 5 25 USF is starting to come together
  E Carolina 3 4 32 under Jeff Scott’s first full year.
  UTEP 6 1 20 Analysts keep predicting against UTEP
  Florida Atl. 4 3 29 yet UTEP keeps winning.
1 Georgia 7 0 33 Florida won this game easily
  Florida 4 3 20 last year.
  Georgia St. 3 4 30  
  Georgia So. 2 5 26  
  Virginia Tech 3 4 29 Virginia Tech’s Jermaine Waller
  Georgia Tech 3 4 26 is 2nd in FBS for intercepting passes.
15 SMU 7 0 33 SMU has two of the top 20 receivers
  Houston 6 1 27 with the most tds in the nation.
  Rutgers 3 4 24 How will Illinois qb Arthur Sitkowski
  Illinois 3 5 22 do in facing his former teammates?
  TCU 3 4 27 Three of TCU’s next four opponents
  Kansas St. 4 3 30 are top 25 teams.
  Massachusetts 1 6 12 The front of the UMass defense
  Liberty 6 2 45 is really beat up right now.
  Texas St. 2 5 17 TSU qb McBride has already thrown 10 interceptions.
14 Louisiana 6 1 39 Louisiana on a 6 game win streak.
  Florida Intl. 1 6 20  
  Marshall 4 3 40  
  Indiana 2 5 30 Indiana may be without both
  Maryland 4 3 25 of its top two quarterbacks.
9 Michigan 7 0 28 Michigan qb Cade MdNamara has thrown
7 Michigan St. 7 0 24 just one interception in 7 games.
  S Miss 1 6 21  
  Middle Tenn 3 4 30  
24 Kentucky 6 1 26 MSU’s Will Rogers has already attempted
  Mississippi St. 4 3 25 397 passes.
  Purdue 4 3 21 Deontai Williams of Nebraska
  Nebraska 3 5 26 has intercepted four passes already.
  UNLV 0 7 19 Tristen Nichols of Nevada already
  Nevada 5 2 38 has eight sacks this season.
  Louisville 4 3 21 Despite a 10-point spread, this
  N Carolina St. 5 2 31 prediction has a high upset alert.
  Minnesota 5 2 27 UM defense gives up just 3.2 yp rush.
  Northwestern 3 4 21 Chris Brown of NU has 51 total tackles.
  N Carolina 4 3 27 North Carolina shouldn’t be a problem
6 Notre Dame 6 1 33 for the under-performing Irish.
16 Penn St. 5 2 22 Ohio State is Savvy’s current favorite to
5 Ohio St. 6 1 34 play for the national title.
  Texas Tech 5 3 27 Oklahoma secondary may be a little
2 Oklahoma 8 0 42 thin this week.
  Kansas 1 6 13 There’s life in Lawrence but
11 Oklahoma St. 6 1 41 this game is in Stillwater.
  LA Tech 2 5 31 Old Dominion leads the nation
  Old Dominion 1 6 26 in blocking opponent kicks.
  Miami Fl 3 4 27 Only one FBS opponent has scored less
22 Pittsburgh 6 1 35 than 30 points on Miami Fl.
  N Texas 1 6 30 Between them, these two defenses have
  Rice 3 4 27 given up 27 tds through the air.
  Fresno St. 6 2 22 SDSU kicker Matt Araiza leads the
18 San Diego St. 7 0 28 nation with 54 yards per punt.
  Wyoming 4 3 19 SJSU is projected to win just one
  San Jose St. 4 4 25 game the rest of the season.
  Arkansas St. 1 6 29 It’s probably not a good thing that Alan
  S Alabama 4 4 33 Lamar of ASU leads FBS in kickoff return yardage.
  Boston Col 4 3 25 Minor upset. Syracuse rb Sean Tucker
  Syracuse 4 4 28 is now the top rusher in America.
  UCF 4 3 38 UCF hasn’t been the same since
  Temple 3 4 21 Scott Frost left.
3 Cincinnati 7 0 46 Trend lines tell me that UC is headed
  Tulane 1 6 18 for an upset loss, although not this week.
  Navy 1 6 21 Navy’s offensive line is as bad (125th) as
  Tulsa 3 4 31 we projected in the preseason.
  Hawai’i 4 4 27 Keep an eye on this one because
  Utah St. 5 2 33 Hawai’i is setting some strong trends.
  Missouri 3 4 34 Even Akron and UNLV have higher ranked
  Vanderbilt 1 6 22 defenses than Vanderbilt.
  Duke 3 4 21 WFU has four defensive backs
12 Wake Forest 7 0 42 questionable as of late Sunday.
8 Iowa 6 1 23 As of late Sunday, Wisconsin has
  Wisconsin 4 3 20 13 players on the questionable list.
  Charlotte 4 3 25 WKU qb Bailey Zappe has passed
  W Kentucky 3 4 36 for over 3000 yards.
19 Iowa St. 5 2 29 West Virginia has yet to beat
  W Virginia 3 4 21 a ranked team in 2021.

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